Understanding Australia’s New Data Retention Laws

Understanding Australia’s New Data Retention Laws

On March 26, 2015, the Australian senate, against the protests of Internet privacy activists from around the world, passed a controversial new data retention law, the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015. While the passage of the bill may have gone largely unnoticed by many Aussies, its implications are wide ranging and will affect Internet users across the country.

Background

Revelations in 2013 about the extent to which the American government monitors its citizens’ Internet use has sparked a global conversation about how much privacy the average Internet user is entitled to, and how to balance that with national security concerns. Prior to the passage of the new Australian data retention law, Internet service providers (ISPs) were under no obligation to keep a record of their customers’ Internet activity, or to turn over that information to law enforcement officials when requested.

Under the new bill, ISPs are mandated to retain telephone, Internet and email metadata for a period of two years. At the discretion of the Australian Attorney General, ISPs can be requested to turn that data over without a warrant to any law enforcement agency or private contractor.

What Does This Mean for Me?

Many of us consider some amount of privacy to be a basic human right. We like to go about our daily lives, both on and offline, without feeling like our actions are being monitored. Australia’s data retention laws fundamentally change that. Now, anonymous activists, bloggers and others who are publically critical of the government can potentially find themselves a target. Even more innocuous choices, such as the media we stream and the files we download, can be used against us.

While the “soft surveillance” of Australia’s Internet privacy laws is not likely to lead to mass arrests or any other drastic consequences for a large portion of the population, the mere fact that it exists is something we should be concerned about.

Australia Data Retention Law
 

What Can Be Done?

Currently, one of the best ways to avoid having your Internet use recorded is to use a VPN to surf the web. A VPN is a secure connection that masks your IP address, effectively allowing you to visit websites, stream media, send email and transfer files anonymously.

For as little as $4.95 a month, Le VPN offers customers a fast, secure and private gateway to the Internet. We’re a leading global VPN provider with servers in more than 114 countries worldwide. In addition to circumventing Australia’s data retention laws, you can also use Le VPN to avoid government censorship while traveling abroad. VPNs are completely legal both in Australia and around the world — our service requires no special hardware and can be accessed from any Mac or Windows desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

Can the Government Ban VPNs?

Proposed legislation gives the Australian government the power to block certain websites hosting or facilitating the spread of pirated content. Should this bill pass, it will make your choice of a VPN provider all the more important. At Le VPN, we do everything we can to stay on top of the legal situation in every country. We’ll work to ensure our service remains compliant with all relevant laws so you can enjoy uninterrupted, private browsing for as long as you’re a subscriber. Want to learn more? Subscribe to Le VPN today. We offer a no risk 7-day money back guarantee.

 

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